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October Horror Day 20

Horror Journal

I always enjoy a good anthology film. The mix of stories means that if one section is a bit weak it doesn’t last long. The shorter stories also mean that the stories are condensed to the bare bones

The House That Dripped Blood

The framing story here is the investigation the disappearance of a famous actor who lived at a large creepy house with a morbid history. The first three stories are all tales of the fate of the house’s previous occupants that the police sergeant tells Detective Inspector Holloway (John Bennett) about.

Method for Murder: A writer Charles Hillyer (Denholm Elliott) moves into the house with his wife Alice (Joanna Dunham) and starts working on his latest book. To help himself he creates a sketch of his main character; an ugly brutish killer called Dominick. When Charles starts seeing the man that he created he starts to think that he is losing his grip on reality.

Waxworks: Philip Grayson (Peter Cushing) moves to the house to retire for a quiet life in the country and to get over the recent death of the woman he loved. One day he visits a horror museum in town and is captivated by the figure of Salome. He is disturbed by his feelings and tries to stay away. Then Philip gets a visit from Neville Rogers (Joss Ackland), an old friend and love rival. They take a trip into town and Neville insists on visiting the horror museum where he too falls under the spell of the wax figure of Salome

Sweets to the Sweet: John Reid (Christopher Lee) recently widowed man with a young daughter moves into the house. He hires a nanny Ann Norton (Nyree Dawn Porter) to look after the daughter when he is away on business and to take of her education. Ann grows increasingly concerned about the cold hostile way John treats his daughter and is even more worried to learn that it is out of fear of the girl. This one of those tales with a truly horrifying ending that is only implied rather than show it in all its gruesomeness

The last story is told to inspector Holloway by the estate agent leasing the house as it involves the case that he is working on.

The Cloak: This is the cheesiest and lightest of the stories. A pompous arrogant actor Paul Henderson (Jon Pertwee) moves into the house because it is close to the studio where he working on his latest schlock horror film with his co-star Carla Lind (Ingrid Pitt). Paul is not happy with e low budget efforts of his producers and is especially upset by the tacky cloak they have for his vampire character so he buys one himself in an old costumiers shop

V.H.S. 2

The framing story here is a bit of an improvement over the thieving shits from the first film. This time we have a pair of private detectives looking into disappearance of a teenager by his mother. They go to house he was staying in and find piles of VHS cassettes all over the house. One detective goes to search the house while the other starts watching the videos to try and get to an idea of what is going on. Like the first film there are different uses of found footage to tell the stories

Phase1 Clinical Trials: This segment is about Herman (Adam Wingard), a man who has been given an experimental artificial eye that records everything it sees. He returns home and is having no problems until night comes and he starts seeing ghosts who also seem aware that he can see them. He learns from Clarissa (Hannah Hughes), a woman who recently had an ear implant, that he’s not he only one that this is happening to. The POV footage in this segment really worked nicely.

A Ride in the Park: An off-road cyclist (Jay Saunders) is wearing a helmet cam for his ride through the woods and he comes across zombies and rinds himself in ride of his life. This is really excellent use of the POV camera and I really liked this segment though it did feel short.

Safe Haven: A team of investigative journalists manage to convince a cult leader simply called Father (Epy Kusnandar) to let them film inside one of his compounds. They have normal large cameras and spy cameras so they can film anywhere Father doesn’t want them to. Father seems to have something big planned for their visit and what at first seems like a suicide cult turns out to be something much worse.

Slumber Party Alien Abduction: A teenager and his friends are bugging his older sister and friends with juvenile pranks which they film on their camcorders. One prank is putting a camera on their pet dog to film the sister with her boyfriend. While boyfriends is chasing them away they see lights over the lake and aliens arrive and you can probably guess what comes next just from the title of this segment.

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Posted by on October 20, 2013 in Entertainment, Film

 

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Review: Sanitarium

DVD Review

Sanitarium DVD 001This is a bargain bin buy that turned out to be a decent find,  It’s not a classic but one that I can probably watch again. It’s an anthology film that owes a debt to films like Asylum from Amicus Productions. It has a cast of experienced actors and they all get a chance to show what they can do in this exploration of madness.

Dr Stenson (Malcolm McDowell) is a psychiatrist in charge of a sanatorium. The linking theme is that he has three patients who have very strange stories which is a very loose way of linking them together. Each linking section has Stenson being contemplative and directly addressing the audience with his thoughts. This often felt a bit cheesy but it is usually short.

The first story Figuratively Speaking stars John Glover as Gustav Spieler, an artist who is barely sane and he has created creepy looking dioramas with articulated figures made of clay and is being lauded as a genius though they looked to me like the sort of highly stylized stop motion figures familiar from East European animation. Gustav is so unworldly that he completely relies on his close friends such as his assistant Mateo (Walter Perez) and his agent Sam (Robert Englund) to keep him alive, fed and medicated. He is apparently such a great success there are calls for him to take his creations to New York. His figures seem to come to life and whisper lies and fears into his ears that drive him to commit awful crimes. It’s a straightforward tale of betrayal and guilt and has a gimmicky little pay-off at the end.

The second story Monsters Are Real is introduced by having a medical student preparing a research paper looking for an interesting case study. Steven (David Mazouz) is normal eight year old boy who has an abusive relationship with his father (Chris Mulkey) who spends his time boozing at a strip club. While sitting in class of the concerned young teacher Ms Lorne (Lacey Chabert) he sees a hooded figure outside the window. He keeps seeing this figure stalking him and it turns out to be some sort of monster but is he real and is he there to hurt him or protect him? This story is fairly short but is definitely the film’s weakest and though there are dark hints at the abuse Steven is suffering it is not given enough time to develop it. The story has the little gimmicky ending again with the medical student and the now adult catatonic Steven.

The last story Up To The Last Man is the strongest and it stars Lou Diamond Phillips as university professor John Silo whose descent into madness is accompanied by a growing obsession with the story of a Mayan prophesy predicting the end of the world on December 21 2012. The story mainly features him alone in shelter that he had built and we see in flashbacks the gradual process of his alienation from the world as his students abandon his class and he loses his job and his family. He hears people pounding on the door of his shelter but he is sure everyone is dead and this is either his madness or the Annunaki, alien beings from the Demon Planet Nibiru predicted in prophesy. It has the most gimmicky ending leaking into the linking narrative but is more effectively worked into the story than in the other two stories.

This film has a modest budget so there is not really too much special effects and the gore is minimal. What is does have is some good actors and interesting writing as well as some wooden or downright hammy acting. This reminded me a lot of TV anthology series like Tales of the Unexpected or Twilight Zone and I would not be shocked to find out it was a pilot for such a series. It isn’t the most original film but it is fairly atmospheric and I liked it.

Rating 6.5/10

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Posted by on July 30, 2013 in Entertainment, Film

 

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Film Review: Slices of Life

 Or 3 Slices of Life as the film seems be called in the credits is a low-budget anthology film featuring amateur actors and lots of gore. There is also nudity too.

Synopsis: there are four stories here including the wraparound story
Sketchers – A young woman wakes up on the lawn of motel with no memory of who she is. She is told  that she works at the motel and is put back to work by the constantly inebriated owner. While there she here’s voices telling to open one of three flesh-bound books of sketches. As she reads each the film fades into to tell the story. As each story ends she find that they are describing real events
W.O.R.M – a lonely nerd working in the basement of a large marketing company thinks he has found a solution to getting people to like him but his plan goes very wrong.
Amber Alert – A pregnant woman finds herself haunted by visions young girls who have gone missing in her neighbourhood.
Pink Snapper – A brother and sister go on the run to escape a sexually abusive uncle. They find an unconscious man on the road by a large house. After taking him to the hospital they return to house and find his daughter locked up in the basement.

The amateur acting film is definitely going to be a major turn-off for most people especially in the wraparound story but I kept watching and I have to say that the stories and the special effects really made it worth the effort. This film reminds of the type of films Frank Henenlotter makes, cheap and cheesy exploitation films with gore by the bucket. If you like films like Frankenhooker or Bad Biology then you may also like this.

Rating  6/10

http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B004QSQMKY

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1584730/

 
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Posted by on June 26, 2011 in Entertainment, Film

 

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